As the discussions over newspaper business models have continued, I keep hearing from newspaper people that they "do local news better" and that local news will be what saves them. Yet, at the same time, we keep hearing about new local news startups that appear to do a much better job of it... and the best of those startups keep getting bought by big media companies. The latest is that MSNBC has purchased EveryBlock
, a cool local news player that did a really nice job bringing together a variety of sources. While it may not have gotten as big as expected, and it's unclear whether MSNBC will end up killing it (the history of startups going to big media companies usually doesn't have a happy ending), it makes you wonder why no newspapers thought of buying it. The things that EveryBlock has done -- like linking local stories to feeds from Flickr, blog posts, and other online sources -- seems like exactly the sort of useful community building that a newspaper should
be doing. Yet, I can't recall any actually doing that themselves... and now they let one of the startups enabling it get bought by someone else. In fact, I'd bet that EveryBlock is potentially one of these evil "aggregators" the newspapers keep complaining about as being "unfair." You can keep complaining, or you can do something. MSNBC appears to have done something, while the newspapers keep complaining.